With the ANC’s majority in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro hanging by a thread, opposition parties in the region are crying foul and saying the governing party is using dirty tricks ahead of a crucial by-election.
With less than two weeks before the by-election in Ward 30, opposition parties are already accusing the ANC of using its incumbency to stifle the competition by “block-booking” the only two community halls available in Ward 30 until August 17.
The by-elections are on August 19.
The halls will be used by the Independent Electoral Commission from August 18 for voting in the by-election.
Ward 30 is made up of two areas, Veeplaas and KwaMagxaki.
It has become a political battlefield for the three main parties in the council – the ANC, DA and United Democratic Movement (UDM) – all vying to win this ward.
Ward 30 was formerly controlled by the ANC until the death of councillor Mike Tofile in April.
His death left the ward vacant, forcing a by-election.
The ANC has a slim majority of only three. If the party loses the ward, it will put a further strain on its already fragile majority.
Mongameli Bobani, UDM leader in the metro, claimed his party would welcome 1 000 former ANC members, including the mother of former mayor Zanoxolo Wayile, who has ditched the ANC for the UDM at Ward 30.
“General [Bantu] Holomisa will be in Port Elizabeth next week to welcome the former ANC members who have now joined the UDM and will help us in campaigning to win Ward 30.
“We are confident we will win because the people there are tired of the ANC and its empty promises,” said Bobani.
Michael Jarvis, campaign manager for the DA, said his party had been working in Ward 30 and conducting door-to-door campaigning in the past six weeks.
“We have decided we will not be derailed by that and are using alternative venues to do our work.
“It is clear the ANC is intimidated and knows that change is coming,” said Jarvis.
He said that, closer to the by-election, the party would bring in its big guns, including DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
The ANC dismissed as baseless the claims that it had booked all halls in Ward 30.
It said the claims were unfounded and only served to “name-drop” the governing party’s name by opposition parties to gain political mileage.
“It’s a figment of their imagination,” said ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane.
“We have only booked the halls we are going to use.
“The problem with the opposition parties is that they always need to use the name of the ANC in order to be relevant,” added Mabuyane